Former drug addict helping others in Grainger County recover

BEAN STATION (WATE)- Giving hope to the hopeless: that’s the motto for the Bean Station Celebrate Recovery group.

Led by Justin Walden, a former drug addict, the group will work with community members struggling with drugs and what Walden calls, “other hurts, habits, or hangups.”

“The whole thing is that I have a great community around me. We had our first celebrate recovery leadership meeting last Monday. I had almost 30 people show up. 30 leaders, who are gonna surround me and hold me accountable to help me start this. It’s just amazing,” Said Walden.

Walden is fifteen months sober, he says getting to that point wasn’t easy, but he found his faith.

“This is the building [Bean Station Church of God] where I came through these doors just about a little over a year ago, running through these doors, with no shoes on, no shirt on, just shorts,” said Walden.

“I was so drug infested with methamphetamine’s that my mother had to sit me down in the back pew. This church has seen me at my worst.”

At 29, Walden says he’s been to rehab 15 times and overdosed three times. He says it started when he was in high school when he was a star athlete.

“My junior year I broke my leg and lost everything. I was just broken and crushed. Didn’t have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. I felt like everybody left me and that was my identity and now it’s gone. I don’t know who I am anymore so, I turned to drugs,” Said Walden.

Celebrate Recovery is a national Christian based program that focuses on giving people within local communities a safe space. In Bean Station, Walden’s group will be the first Celebrate Recovery group.

Walden says for the next eight weeks, nearly 30 leaders will train to prepare to best serve the community.

“Your life can go anywhere. The beauty of this is that it can because I’m a living example of it. I have been on every drug possible. I have done anything and everything to get that drug, to get my identity back. Now that I have been able to find that identity and know who I am that I’m a son of God and that he loves me despite my imperfection it’s awesome.”

Walden says his goal is simple: remind those struggling with drugs that they are important and most of all, they are loved by God.

“We want them more than the drug dealers do,” said Walden.

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